Thursday, December 27, 2012


"In Belfast, I have seen whole streets burned out by sectarian warfare between different sects of Christianity, and interviewed people whose relatives and friends have been kidnapped and killed or tortured by rival religious death squads, often for no other reason than membership of another confession. There is an old Belfast joke about the man stopped at a roadblock and asked his religion. When he replies that he is an atheist he is asked, 'Protestant or Catholic atheist?' I think this shows how the obsession has rotted even the legendary local sense of humor. In any case, this did actually happen to a friend of mine and the experience was decidedly not an amusing one.'
--Christopher Hitchens, author "god is Not Great"

Recently Piers Morgan interviewed Pastor Rick Warren, and true to form, Morgan brought up gay marriage and how the Bible, just like the Constitution, may require amendments. As you can see in the clip below, Warren responded with the usual sound bites brandished by many Evangelical Christians: "I do not believe the Bible is flawed", "Opinion changes but truth doesn't" and so on. But Warren, and Todd Starnes of Fox News, missed what Morgan was trying to say.

In fact, many Christians, like Morgan, are coming to hold the view that the Bible is more allegorical than literal and as such should not be taken as a document of infallible truth. So, despite what Fox News says about Morgan's liberal views, they cannot escape the fact that he is still a Christian, and that this argument is not one of Christianity vs Socialism or Atheism or whatever else they decide to villainize, but a difference of interpretation between two Christians using the same holy book.

Well, as you might have guessed, this doctrinal quarrel is spilling over to social media, where some people are commenting on how disappointing and sad Morgan's views are. Some have even started a petition to deport Morgan for his anti 'Merican ways (completely ignoring his right to free speech, which as Morgan points out is an AMENDMENT to the Constitution).

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all for me has been the negative response by Mormons. You see, unlike most Protestant Christians, Mormons actually teach that the Bible is only partially correct, as indicated in their Articles of Faith:

"8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly;"

So, why would Mormons be upset by Morgan's comment? It seems as though their scriptures agree with him! But wait, there's more; the whole idea that Joseph Smith needed to bring about the Book of Mormon is based on the very notion that the Bible is flawed.

Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Bible can tell you that the New Testament has had hundreds of years of editorial work, having gone through countless transcriptions, translations and revisions. The Old Testament has been going through the same process, but for thousands of years. Therefore, even if one holds that the Bible is inspired by god, it is still reasonable to postulate that there may at least be errors in translation. Why else would there be so many translations today? Ultimately, all that Morgan is calling for is a revision of a possible clerical error. Christians can't even agree on which version of the Bible is correct, so, how is Morgan's comment insulting?

For me, all of this is irrelevant to Morgan's original comment about allowing gays the right to marry since we do not based our laws on what the Bible says. Morgan is right about the Constitution requiring the occasional amendment (as foreseen by the founding fathers), but as far as the Bible is concerned, I don't see how revising an ancient book which advocates Bronze-Age morality is even necessary.


Here is the Atheist Experience on the history of the Bible:

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